Depression as a disorder is on an all time high. What's disturbing is that depression in children also seems to be rampant. Can it be tackled?
It’s a known fact that exercise, and for that matter, any form of physical activity has a positive impact on depression in adults. Now, as per this study, it may stand true for depression in children as well.
Apparently, moderate to vigorous physical activity that leaves children sweaty and out of breath has the same beneficial effect on them. Going by the buzz, researchers at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and NTNU Social Research have followed hundreds of children over four years to see if they could find a correlation between physical activity and symptoms of depression.
It's a scary thought to consider that even children can be prey to this mental disorder. While there should be no stigma attached to adults or children with this condition, it definitely needs to be addressed in a more serious manner.
Considering the fact that till recently depression and anxiety were supposed to be just 'moods' and not something serious that needed addressal, it is indeed an uphill task to raise awareness on the same. So one can imagine how difficult it must be to spread awareness about depression in children. Then how do we tackle this menace?
Depression in children needs to be taken with as much seriousness as you would take any mental disorder in adults. While identifying depression in children itself is a big thing, how do we help them cope with it, or rather overcome it? Here are some tips that may help lessen depression in children:
- Ensure a stable pattern in life. As boring as predictability sounds to you, for a young child there is nothing more reassuring than a stable and predictable life. Moving from one country to another or even shifting shuffling from one school to another too often can be disturbing.
- Express your love for them. Every parent loves their children. No doubt there. However, how often do we express it as well? Let your child know that he is loved. Indulge him in hugs and cuddles. Make him feel valued.
- Keep the communication channels open. Make sure that you communicate with him well beyond asking him about his studies. Let him know that he can walk up to you and talk about anything under the sun. Be it peer pressure, being bullied in class or a 'harmless' infatuation, let him know he won't be judged if he shares it with you.
- Discipline, but in limits. Don't be that parent who notices the undone bed, and not the beautiful sketch the child has made. As much as the bed needs to be made, the child also needs to be appreciated. Nobody enjoys being lectured to... beyond a point, it just begins to annoy them.
- Teach him that losing is a part of life. You win some, you lose some. As kids, it's difficult to deal with disappointment. Don't make a big deal out of his loss, but don't let it go unacknowledged either. Let him know, the loss was disheartening, but there's always a next time and a better opportunity.
The list can go on and on. As basic as these sound, it is often difficult to adhere to them amidst office and home chores. However, is there anything more precious than your child? No. So, it's totally worth reminding ourselves to be empathetic towards our kid's emotional needs. Also, if you believe your child is at risk for depression for whatever reason, consider consulting a doctor prior to anything else.
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